Exponentially-multiplying Plastic Bags? Here's a Solution!




Ok, obviously plastic bags from grocery stores and most other retail establishments are pretty convenient compared to paper ones. There seems to be a strange phenomenon that occurs, however, when they are brought home and not thrown directly in the trash can. If you are like my wife and myself, we seem to think that they will ALL someday serve a useful purpose for....uhhh...something :) Conversely, they have accumulated and, in my conspiracy-based opinion, have figured out a way to mate and multiply exponentially.

This instructable is intended to display a simple, quick, cheap and easy way to wrangle those plastic bags into an organized, condensed dispenser. Someday you will use them!? Before you throw away that long-sleeved shirt that you painted in or somehow stained, take a gander at this. Gain the upper hand on those rascals.

The video shows it all take place:

Step 1: Materials

This project is so easy..a caveman could do it. Hopefully that caveman on the car insurance commercials doesn't see this. It should take you, or even him, less than 5 minutes once you've gathered all of the necessary materials:

1) An unwanted long-sleeved shirt or sweatshirt
2) Scissors
3) String (somewhat-thick nylon works great)
4) 2 safety pins
5) 9,000 plastic bags...hehe

Step 2: Cutting

-Cut a sleeve off of the shirt.
NOTE: While doing so, picture all of your plastic bags being reluctantly brought under control with what you are about to assemble (this part is optional).

-Measure and cut a 10in. (about 25cm) piece of string.

Step 3: Fastening

-Tie the ends of the string to the safety pins. Alternatively, you can pierce the ends of the string with the pins if it's strong nylon.

-Fasten the safety pins to the end of the shirt sleeve (the end that you just cut). See pictures and check the image note.

Step 4: Hang and Fill!

-Quietly find a good place to hang your bag dispenser. As you'll see in the video and picture, the door knob on the inside of a closet door is perfect. Not only is it out of view, but it will quiet the potential bag riot that could ensue when they are captured.

-Fill it with as many plastic bags as you can. This may require help from another person (preferably a large adult). The level of resistance may be fierce. At this stage of the game, the bags have fully realized that they are no longer in control!

Step 5: The Finished Product

-Now you can just pull a bag out of the bottom of the sleeve when you need one!

Thanks for viewing! Have fun. Please rate and comment.



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    16 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    You say: "There seems to be a strange phenomenon that occurs, however, when they are brought home and not thrown directly in the trash can"

    I thought everybody used the bags like we do in our house. We've used them forever as liners for the small trash cans in the bathrooms and the kids' room. I've never bought commercial liners.

    The larger Walgreens bags fit the office trash can well.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I do the same thing, but fold about an inch of the cut edge inside the sleeve, then cut 4 (or 6) slits in this 'hem' and thread a ribbon through it. That way you can tie a pretty bow in the ribbon to close the top end, and use one of the threaded loops to hang it up. I hang mine on a fairly high hook, though, so I use the bottom end for stuffing and dispensing. The whole making process takes less than 60 seconds! (um, yes, I timed it....)


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Dude, where'd you get that ruler? o ya, plus this is a good use for old long-sleeve shirts

    4 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Haha..I've had a lot of people rave about that ruler since I've used it in several videos. To be honest, I have no idea where it was bought (my wife had it for years before we got married...she says she doesn't remember where she got it). Thanks for the feedback!


    9 years ago on Step 5

    COOL! Thanks, I've been wondering all this week what to do with the bunch of plastic bags I cleaned out from under the sink. I think a pants leg would work better, though. This might be easier to use if all of the plastic bags were put into the dispenser with a similar folding style...


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I had an aunt who used to make these from tea towels. Just fold in half and sew along the longest edge, to make a tube, then add a drawstring to top and bottom. Some of the designs on those things are pretty nice, so they can be quite decorative. The added bonus is that the top and bottom are both sealed, but easily openable. Hang it on the back of a door so you can reach in to put the bags in top, and just pull them out of the bottom. Nice tutorial. :)

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    You could get a larger one by using an old leg from a pair of sweat pants


    10 years ago on Introduction

    A much cheaper & environmentally friendly version of something I've seen sold in catalogs. :)

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    I've seen this also done with a milk container. My friend flipped it upside down, cut a hole in the bottom and pulled them through the spout.

    1 reply